Shabbat Chazak/Shabbat Mevorchim Chodesh Sivan
Laws and Customs of Shavuot 5782
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Erev Shabbat, 4 Sivan, Friday, June 3
- As on every Erev Yom Tov, it is proper to take a haircut (if one’s hair is overgrown) on this day.
- It is proper to cut one’s nails on this day.
- It is proper for men to immerse in the Mikvah on this day as the Jews did before they received the Torah.
If a child’s birthday falls out between Lag Ba’Omer and Shavuot, the Chabad custom is to postpone the Upsherinish (first haircut when a boy turns three) to Erev Shavuot. Or, in the case of this year, Erev Shabbat.
Trees and Flowers
- It is customary in many communities to decorate the synagogues and homes with greenery and flowers to commemorate the joy of Receiving the Torah at which time Mount Sinai was covered with foliage and greenery.
- In addition, it is customary in many communities to put trees in the synagogues and homes. This reminds us that we are judged regarding fruits of the tree on this holiday and that we must pray for blessing in this regard. Some say that this custom should not be followed as it is reminiscent of a holiday of a different religion.
- Flowers are not considered muktzah as they have been designated for decorative use. One may not, however, put them into water on Yom Tov as this may cause them to open. This may be considered akin to planting. One may, however, add water to the water that is already in the vase. On Shabbat, one may not add water.
Tzedaka for the Holiday
- One should remember to provide the necessities of the holidays for those in need. Sufficient support should be provided so that the poor have enough to make Yom Tov in a comfortable and enjoyable manner. This is especially important regarding the holiday of Shavuot, which is only two days long and whose needs may therefore be overlooked. This Mitzvah benefits both the giver and the recipient.
- Maimonides writes: “When a person eats and drinks [in celebration of a holiday], he is obligated to feed converts, orphans, widows, and others who are destitute and poor. In contrast, a person who locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered is [not indulging in] rejoicing associated with a mitzvah, but rather [is indulging in] the rejoicing of his belly.”
- It is especially important to provide for Torah scholars and other righteous poor people who refrain from asking for help.
One should remember to light a 24-hour candle so that one will have a fire with which to light the Yom Tov candles on the first and second nights of Yom Tov.
In addition, those who recite Yizkor, should light a 72-hour candle so that it is burning during the second day of Shavuot. If necessary, this can be lit on the second night of Yom Tov from a pre-existing flame.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that it is a good idea for young girls who are ready to start lighting Shabbat and Yom Tov candles to begin doing so on the Yom Tov of Shavuot. By doing so, the bracha of shehechiyanu can also be referring to the mitzvah of the candles. If one wishes to start before the Yom Tov, it is best for the girl to wear a new dress and say shehechiyanu while keeping in mind the mitzvah.
Erev Shavuot, Shabbat Parshat Bamidbar, 5 Sivan, June 3 and 4
We do not say Av Harachamim or Tzidkat’cha during Musaf and Mincha respectively.
One may nap on Shabbat afternoon, but one should not explicitly say that it is a preparation to be able to stay up at night. Some permit saying their intention, since staying up to learn is a mitzvah.
In addition, one may not prepare on Shabbat for Shavuot for example, by setting the table, putting drinks in the refrigerator, rolling the Torah scroll to the right spot for Yom Tov reading or preparing sefarim for learning.
Some say that, in a case of necessity, one may take food out of the freezer for the night time meal if it will defrost and be edible before Shabbat is over. One should not state that they are doing this for the night time meal.
The sixth chapter of Pirkei Avot should be recited between Mincha and Maariv.
One who plans to eat a large Seudah Shlishit (third meal) [i.e., grain foods larger than the size of an egg] should preferably start it in the earlier part of the afternoon (approximately three hours before sunset) so that they not spoil their appetite for the evening (Yom Tov) meal.
One should finish one’s Seudah Shlishit before the sun sets as otherwise one would have to make the Yom Tov Kiddush when the sun sets. This situation involves many Halachic uncertainties.
Shavuot, 6 and 7 Sivan, Saturday night, June 4 – Monday evening, June – 6
- Shavuot is the (birthday and) Yahrtzeit of King David.
- Shavuot is also the Yahrtzeit of the Ba’al Shem Tov. He passed away on Wednesday, the first day of Shavuot 5520 (1760), and is interred in Mezhibuzh.
- For this reason, the Chabad Rebbes would tell stories of the Baal Shem Tov on Shavuot.
- Whoever ponders the attitude of Tosafot (Shabbat 89a D.H. Torah) regarding Shavuot will understand that this festival is an auspicious time on high. On this day G-d confounds the “supernal accuser” of Israel (Satan), similar to His confounding the accuser during Shofar-sounding on Rosh Hashana and on the holy day of the Fast of Yom Kippur.
- Shavuot is an opportune time to achieve everything in improving Torah-study and avoda (service of G-d) marked by fear (awe) of G-d, and also to strive in teshuva (repentance) concerning Torah-study, without interference by the accusing Satan, again just like the time of Shofar-sounding on Rosh Hashana and the holy day of the Fast of Yom Kippur.
- Regarding the holiday of Shavuot, all opinions agree that one must celebrate with food and drink, and it isn’t sufficient to only study and pray. This is to show that we are delighted that we received the Torah.
- It seems from the Talmud that the weather of the following year can be predicted based on the weather of Shavuot.
- There was a custom to begin the formal education of Jewish boys (cheder) on Shavuot. There was usually an accompanying ceremony which involved eating cake and eggs that had verses of the Torah written on them.
- There was also a custom to dedicate new Sifrei Torah on the holiday of Shavuot.
First Night of Shavuot (Motzei Shabbat, June 3)
- The evening service begins with Shir Hama’alot (page 161 in the new Chabad Siddur) and includes the Holiday Amidah (page 331).
- One should not pray the evening service until after the stars emerge in order that the 50 days of the counting of the Omer should be considered “complete.”
- One should insert the paragraph of vatodieinu in the Amidah. This serves as a havdalah between the Shabbat and the holiday.
- One must wait until after Shabbat ends to light the Yom Tov candles. One should only use a pre-existing flame and when lighting one should be careful not to wave out the match but rather to put it down and allow it go out by itself.
- Before lighting, one should say, “Baruch hamavdil bein kodesh lekodesh” (Blessed is the one who separates between the holy and the holy) in order to make a verbal havdalah before doing work which is forbidden on Shabbat.
- The blessings on the candles are: Lehadlik ner shel Yom Tov and She’hechiyanu.
- This Kiddush includes the Havdalah and the blessing on the candles. The order (as printed in the Siddur) is: the blessing on the wine, the kiddush, the blessing on the candle, the blessing of Havdalah, and the blessing of Shehechiyanu. If one changed the order, he has still fulfilled his obligation.
- After saying the bracha of Borei Me’orei Ha’Esh, the Chabad custom is to look at the candles without putting them together but not to examine one’s fingernails. The same is true whenever Kiddush and Havdalah are joined – when Motzei Shabbat coincides with Yom Tov.
- Grace after Meals includes Ya’aleh Veyavoh (pg. 92) and the Harachamanrecited on a Yom Tov (pg. 95).
Studying Torah the Entire Night
- It is customary for men to remain awake and study Torah during the entire first night of Shavuot. This is to rectify the mistake of the Jews who overslept on the day of the receiving of the Torah, and to help us prepare to receive the Fiftieth Gate of Understanding on the day of Shavuot.
- Although the Jewish people have “corrected” this mistake many times over, we must do this every year since we should re-experience the giving of the Torah each year, and we should prepare for this by studying rather than by sleeping.
- The Arizal said that whoever does not sleep at all on this night but rather studies Torah is assured to live out that year and no harm will befall him.
- The Mitteler Rebbe (the second Rebbe of Chabad) said that one who remains awake all night on Shavuot (and studies Torah) is assured to merit the KeterTorah (the crown of Torah).
- The Arizal established a certain text to be studied on this night. It includes sections of the Tanach, Mishnah, Zohar, as well as the 613 Mitzvot. The text is known as the “Tikkun Leil Shavuot” (Tikkun means rectification). Even Torah scholars should say this text on this night.
- If one cannot say the entire Tikkun, one should at least say the part that includes sections of the Tanach.
- When saying the 613 mitzvot, one should intend to fulfill all of the mitzvot in the realm of speech.
- One who did not complete the Tikkun at night should do so the next day.
- Women do not need to say Tikkun. If a woman counted the Omer, some say it is proper for her to say the part of the Tikkun which includes the Tanach (bible). (Certainly, a woman who stays up and studies Torah will be blessed by Hashem.)
- Some are not particular to recite the Tikkun. Instead, they study other parts of the Oral Torah.If the community is reciting the Tikkun one should not separate himself and learn other things.
- In shuls where refreshments are provided one should be careful not to eat or drink dairy products if they ate meat within the previous six hours. In addition, one should make sure to refrain from eating after dawn.
- It is proper for men to go to the Mikvah before dawn in order to prepare themselves to receive the holy revelations of this day. One should immerse four times.
- According to the Arizal, one who stayed up the entire night may recite all of the morning blessings as usual despite the fact that he has not slept. This is the Chabad custom. One should go to the bathroom before washing the hands and reciting the blessing “al netilat Yadayim.”
- Some say that one should not say the blessings on the Torah oneself but should rather hear them being recited by someone else and respond “Amen.” One who took a long nap on Erev Shavuot may certainly say these blessings in the morning. Alternatively, one may also have in mind when saying the blessing of Ahavat Olam (or Ahava Rabba) before the Shema of Shacharit that it should “count” as a blessing on the Torah. In this case, one should study some Torah immediately after the Amidah.
- Some say that the blessing of “Elokai Neshama” and “Hama’avir Sheina” should similarly be heard from someone else.
- If one wishes to continue studying Torah after dawn, one should first recite (or hear) the blessings of the Torah (as above).
The First Day of Shavuot (Sunday, 6 Sivan/ June 5)
- If one stayed up the entire night and is afraid that he may be unable to concentrate on his prayers, it is better that he nap for a few hours before praying.
- In such a case, one should recite the morning Shema before going to sleep.
- Many communities recite Akdamot at the beginning of the Torah reading of this day. This is a beautiful poem in Aramaic about the giving of the Torah. There is a disagreement as to whether it should be read before the blessing over the first Aliyah or after reading the first verse of that Aliyah. The preferred custom is to say it before the blessing on the Torah.
- Although Akdamot are printed in the Chabad Siddur, it is not the Chabad custom to recite them. It is said that the Rebbe would recite them privately.
The Ten Commandments
- The Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged every Jewish man and woman to be present for the reading of the Ten Commandments. Parents should bring their children. Even babies (above the age of 30 days) should be brought (health permitting).
- This is based on the Midrash that says that nowadays when we read the Ten Commandments on Shavuot, it is as if we are receiving the Ten Commandments again directly from G-d.
- It is customary in many communities (including Chabad) to stand during the reading of the Ten Commandments while facing the Sefer Torah. The Sefardic custom is to remain seated.
The Commentaries discuss why the Ten Commandments were said in the singular form, “You (singular) shalt not: etc. Rav Dovid Dietch explained that the reason is to teach us that one should not say “What does G-d care if I do not serve Him? He has so many angels and tzadikkim who serve Him. Why is my service important?” G-d therefore said to each person, “I am the L-rd, your G-d (in the singular)” as if to say, “You should imagine that you are My only subject, and there is no one to serve Me but you.”
The Haftorah of this day is referred to as “The Chariot of Yechezkel.” Due to the holiness of this haftorah, it is customary that a great person who is a Torah scholar read it. According to some customs, if a congregant reads the haftorah along with the Ba’al Maftir, he should stand up while doing so.
In Israel, where there is only one day of Yom Tov, Yizkor is recited on this day.
As on every day of Yom Tov (and every day in Sefardic and most shuls in Israel), the Kohanim bless the people during Chazzan’s repetition of the Musaf of Shavuot.
Eating Dairy Foods
It is customary to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. There are many reasons given for this.
- After the giving of the Torah at Sinai, the Jewish people did not have kosher vessels or kosher meat, so instead of taking the time to slaughter and salt the meat etc., they ate a dairy meal.
- The two breads that one has with the two meals (the original custom was to eat dairy and meat meal within a meal of bread, see note 66) is reminiscent of the two loaves that were part of the Shavuot sacrifice.
- Milk represents purity. Milk is produced by the body from blood, and blood is associated with the impurity of Niddah (the blood of the menstrual cycle). Thus, consuming dairy represents the Jewish people being purified from the tuma(impurities) of Egypt.
- The whiteness of milk represents G-d’s pure loving kindness. The Torah was given to us out of G-d’s boundless kindness.
- One of the six names of the Mount Sinai is Gavnunim which is similar to the word gevinah (cheese).
- Since milk comes from a living animal, it was actually not kosher until the giving of the Torah as it was considered eiver min hachai (part of a living animal). Since the laws of eiver min hachai are part of the Noahide code, the Jewish people were not allowed to consume milk at that time. It was permitted by the Torah which praises the land of Israel as the land of milk and honey.We commemorate this by eating dairy on this day.
- In addition to the dairy meal, one should eat a meat meal on Shavuot day as one does on every Yom Tov.
- The best way to accomplish both of these concepts is to first eat a dairy meal (or kiddush), recite the grace after meals, wait a half hour or an hour and then have a meat meal.
- The tablecloths should be changed between the two meals, and a new loaf of bread (if one is washing for both meals) should be served.
- Some do not wash for the dairy meal but rather eat it as a “Kiddush,” and then wash for the second meal. They should recite the bracha acharonah(concluding blessing) before beginning the meat meal.
- It is customary for Ashkenazim to wait six hours after eating hard, aged cheese before consuming meat. This includes Parmesan and Swiss cheese.
- In some communities it is customary to eat a dairy meal on the night of Shavuot and a meat meal on the day of Shavuot.[85
The Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged his Chassidim to visit other congregations on the second night of Shavuot, and, if possible, share Torah insights. This is referred to as a Tahalucha (a march).
Second Night of Yom Tov (Sunday night, June 5)
- No preparation may be made for the (meal of the) second night of Yom Tov before nightfall.
- Women should wait until after nightfall before lighting candles.
- The candles should be lit from a pre-existing flame.
- When lighting, one should be careful not wave out the match, but rather one should put it down and allow it go out by itself.
- Those who say Yizkor should light a 24-hour candle at this time (from a pre-existing flame).
- The Bracha of She’hechiyanu is recited at candle-lighting by the women or at Kiddush by the man who recites the Kiddush.
Second Day of Yom Tov (Monday, June 6)
- In many communities the Book of Ruth is read publicly (without a beracha)on the second day of Shavuot before the Torah reading.
- Chabad custom is not to read it publicly. It is read privately as part of the Tikkun. Sefardim and various Polish Chassidim also do not read Megillat Rut publicly.
- Many reasons have been given for the reading of this book on Shavuot. Several of them:
- Shavuot is King David’s birthday and Yohrtzeit so we read the book about his lineage.
- The Book of Ruth teaches us that the Torah is only acquired through suffering (i.e., voluntary relinquishing of earthly pleasures as personified by Ruth).
- Shavuot is a harvest festival, and so the Book of Ruth describes the harvest and how the poor were treated in the harvest season with sympathy and love.
- Ruth is the gematriyah of 606, which is the number of mitzvot we accepted when we received the Torah in addition to the seven Noahide laws.
- Some read Megilat Rut from a scroll and say a blessing before doing so.
- Ashkenazim recite Yizkor on this day.
- It is customary that those who are in mourning for the loss of a parent do not recite Yizkor during the mourning period (12 months). The Chabad custom is that they remain in Shul but do not actually recite Yizkor.
- The custom of Yizkor is to give tzedaka (after Yomtov) in memory of the departed.
- Chabad custom is that Av HaRachamim should be recited even by those not saying Yizkor.
- At the close of every Yom Tov, the Lubavitcher Rebbe would lead a farbrengen(inspirational Chassidic gathering) that included singing the songs associated with (or composed by) the Ba’al Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch and all of the Chabad Rebbes. This would serve as a bridge between the holiness of the Yom Tov, and the mundane time of the rest of the year.
Motzei Shavuot (Monday night, June 6)
The Havdalah of this night does not include a candle or smelling spices.
Isru Chag (Tuesday, June 7)
One should eat an additional dish of food on this day in order to celebrate it as a mini-holiday.
Days of Tashlumin, Tuesday, 8 Sivan /June 7 – Shabbat, Sivan 12/June 11
The five days that follow the holiday of Shavuot (or six in Israel) are known as yemeitashlumin (days of compensation) as, in the Temple era, one could bring the Holiday sacrifices on these days.
Many communities do not recite Tachnun (supplicatory prayers that follow the morning and afternoon Amidah on most weekdays) during the first 12 days of Sivan. This is also the Chabad custom. Others resume Tachnun on the 9th of Sivan or on the 14th of Sivan.
One may not fast or deliver eulogies on these days.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Same’ach. May you receive the Torah with inward joy!
 Shulchan Aruch HaRav 529: 1. See Kovetz Raza”sh, page 61 that the Lubavitcher Rebbe would take a haircut on Friday when Shavuot began on Sunday. See Piskei Teshuvot 493 note 116 regarding taking haircuts on Thursday night.
 Mateh Efraim 625, 11
 Shelah, Masechet Shavuot
 Igrot Kodesh vol. 12, page 441
 Rama 494:2 and Mishna Berurah 10. See Ex. 34:3
 Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ibid 15
 See Mishna Berurah ibid in the name of the Gr”a
 See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 336:18
 Torat Menachem, 5743, vol. 3, pg. 1536
 Laws of Yom Tov, 6:18
 Kaf HaChaim, 529:42
 See Biur Halacha D.H. Ner on O.C. 514:5
 Sefer HaSichot, 5750, vol. 2 page 481, note 38
 See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 306:2
 See Torah Shabbat 290:2
 Ibid 302:10
 See Mishnah Berurah 667:5
 See ibid, 271, 9 – 12
 Sha’arei Teshuvah 494, 7
 Yalkut Shimoni 735
 HaYom Yom, 7th of Sivan
 Sefer HaSichot 5704, 140
 Ibid 3rd of Sivan
 Ibid, 4th of Sivan
 Pesachim 68b
Shulchan Aruch HaRav 494, 18
 See Bava Batra 147a
 Maharam quoted in Mordechai Shabbat, 369
 See Sha’arei Teshuvah, 494, 11
 Ibid 473:6
 See ibid 502:7 that separating flames that are touching can be considered extinguishing.
 See Zohar, Parshat Emor “The early Chassidim would not sleep on this night. Rather they would study Torah.”
 Ibid, 3 Magen Avraham, beginning of 494
 See Zohar Parshat Emor. If one’s wife’s Mikvah night is on the first night of Shavuot, one should not nullify that mitzvah.
 Tamei HaMinhagim
 Mishnah Berurah ibid, 1 in the name of the Shulchan Aruch Ha’Arizal
 Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad, pg. 44
 Chida in Lev David, 31
 Kaf HaChayim 494:8
 Ibid, 7
 The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, quoted in Kovetz Lubavitch, vol. 3, 35
 Kaf HaChayim, ibid, 8
 See Piskei Teshuvot 494:3
 Yalkut Yosef, Shavuot, ot 7
 Kaf HaChaim ibid, 7
 Sha’ar HaKavanot of the Arizal
 See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 46, 7, Likutei Sichot, 9, page 276
 See Siddur HaRav
 Mishnah Berurah 494, 1 See note 52 in the new Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Siman 4.
 Mishnah Berurah 47, 28
 Ibid, 46, 24
 See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 47:7 and Shevet HaLevy 10:77:2
 Sha’arei Halacha UMinhag, 1 pg. 110
 Shulchan Aruch HaRav 494, 7
 Sha’arei Halacha UMinhag 2, 168
 “And those that want, even earlier” Likutei Sichot, vol. 23, pg. 251
 Sha’arei Halacha UMinhag 2, pg. 168, Likutei Sichot, ibid and pg. 256
 Pesikta of Rav Kahane Chapter Bachodesh HaShlishi
 See Ta’amei HaMinhagim, page 279 that all the souls of the Jewish people who would ever be born also stood at Mount Sinai. Rav Elimelch of Lizhensk would say that he remembers not only the event of the giving of the Torah but that he also remembers who stood next to him.
See also Ta’amei HaMinhagim, page 280 in the name of the Arizal that on each Yom Tov the event of that Yom Tov reoccurs for all the Jewish people living at that time.
 Sefer HaMinhagim, Chabad
 Kaf HaChayim, 494, 30 See also Teshuvot HaRambam 46
 Ta’amei HaMinhagim, page 280
 Shulchan Aruch HaRav ibid, 6
 Ibid, 16
 Mishnah Berurah, 494, 12
A variation of the same explanation is that since the Torah was given on Shabbat, they were not allowed to slaughter the animals and otherwise prepare them for eating (Ta’amei HaMinhagim in the name of Ge’ulat Yisrael).
 Rama, 494, 3
 Based on Zohar Parshat Emor. 97b
 Benei Yissachar, Chodesh Sivan 4, 5
 Bamidbar Rabbah, 1, 8, see Tehillim, 68:16
 Tamei HaMinhagim, page 281 in the name of Rav Shimshon of Ostrapolyah
See there, page 279 that the name Sinai alludes to the sneh (thorn bush) in which G-d first revealed Himself to Moshe. This occurred on Mount Sinai. Indeed, there is a tradition that the stones from Mount Sinai have the image of a thorn bush inside of them. No matter how many times they are broken, this image appears.
 Bechorot, 6a based on Exodus, 3:8 and many other verses.
 Ta’amei HaMinhagim, in the name of Rav Nachum Ahron Roke’ach
 See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 529:4
 The main halacha is that one need not recite the grace after meals between eating dairy and meat. It is preferable, however to do so (see Pri Megadim, Siftei Da’at, Y.D. 89:16. See also, Zohar P. Mishpatim, 125a, quoted in Shach 15 on Y.D. ibid).
 Chabad custom, based on the Zohar, Parshat Mishpatim, is to wait an hour between milk and meat. Many Ashkenazim wait only one half-hour. See Piskei Teshuvot, 494, note 68 who gives a source for this custom. The Sefardic custom is simply to eat and drink something in between without (necessarily) waiting any time at all.
 Rama 494, 3 Shulchan Aruch HaRav ibid See Y.D. Siman 88 and 89 with the commentaries there.
 According to the Rama (494, 3), it is proper to have bread at the meat meal as well.
 Darkei Teshuvah, 89, 19
 Shach, Y.D. 89, 6
 See Y.D. 89 Rama
 See https://oukosher.org/blog/
consumer-kosher/aged-cheese- list/ for a comprehensive list of aged cheeses
 See Piskei Teshuvot 494:11
 See Likutei Sichot, 8, page 252 that this is especially relevant to Shavuot when G-d (so to speak) travelled to the world to give us the Torah.
 Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ibid, 13 and 470:17
 Otzar Minhagei Chabad, Sivan, page 305 and 306
 Sha’arei Teshuvah ibid, 7
 Shulchan Aruch HaRav 49413
 Ta’amei HaMinhagim
 Minhag of the Vilna Gaon (Mishnah Berurah, 490:18)
See Piskei Teshuvot 490, note 23 that the Vilna Gaon would also recite shehechiyanubefore reading Megillat Rut.
 See Mishnah Berurah, 494:17 that Yizkor is recited on every Yom Tov day when we read the Torah reading of Kol HaBechor. (Yom Kippur is the only exception). This reading contains the words “Misat Nitdvat Yadcha asher titen” (according to the generosity of your hand that you will give, Deut. 16, 10). Thus, one is encouraged to give Tzedakah generously in memory of one’s departed relatives.
 Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad
 The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, quoted here
 Shulchan Aruch HaRav 429:17
 See Mishnah Berurah, 131:36
 Siddur HaRav
 See Rama, 494:3
 See Sha’arei Teshuvah, 131:7
 See sources cited in Piskei Teshuvot, 494, note 51. See there regarding the fast of a Chattan and Kallah.
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